E.A. Sports Today

Curry lifts Anniston into 5A Final Four

‘Cadillac’ plays key role in Bulldogs’ 50-39 victory over Springville

Anniston's Carsheuna Curry (32) and Takia Shears take their defensive stance against Springville.

Anniston’s Carsheuna Curry (32) and Takia Shears take their defensive stance against Springville.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — The Anniston girls are riding their Cadillac into Birmingham.

For all the attention the Bulldogs draw from Raven Cooley, Ki-Yana Bullock and Miajah Bullock, it was the effort of Carsheuna Curry that lifted them past Springville 50-39 in the Northeast Regional Class 5A girls final Thursday.

The Bulldogs (27-8) will now play Brewbaker Tech in the 5A girls semifinal 6 p.m. Wednesday at the BJCC.

Cadillac, so named by coach Eddie Bullock “because she’s so smooth,” scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds to land a spot on the all-tournament team. Ki-Yana Bullock and tournament MVP Cooley were on it as well.

Even Bullock had to say without Curry’s contribution they wouldn’t be sitting in the post-game interview as winners.

“No question; I don’t think so,” he said. “I don’t have a person, for the length of time she plays, right now off the bench who can give me what she gives me.

“I can even go back to the game before. If you remember we were up maybe 3 or 4 points and she got fouled at the end and went to the line and knocked down two free throws and before that one of my better shooters had missed. I told her you just have to be ready.

“When we lost NeNe (Bolton) last year everybody was wondering what we were g oing to do and I told them the structure of the team changes. Shes basically the leading rebounder right now and I told her that’s your role right now. You rebound, you get garbage points, and she accepts that role well.”

Seven of Curry’s rebounds were off the offensive glass, leading to many of her points. The Bulldogs had as many offensive rebounds in the game as Springville had total as a team (23).

“I tried to do the same thing as I did Monday,” Curry said. “I know I’m not the leading scorer, but my first job is to rebound and I’m going to get as many offensive and defensive rebounds as I can and I’m going to play defense. I like playing defense. Today, it just kind of came to me.”

Cooley finished with a game-high 15 points and seven rebounds. Ki-Yana Bullock had 11 points and seven boards. All five Anniston starters had at least five rebounds.

Because of Springville’s inability to get off many shots and the Bulldogs cleaning the glass just about every time they missed, this one was never much in doubt. The Bulldogs jumped up to a 14-4 lead in the first quarter and stayed out front.

“Rebounding is a part of defense and basically I keep stressing to the girls the only way you can really win a championship is you’ve got to be able to play defense,” Bullock said. “Some nights you’ll be on making shots and some nights you won’t. We didn’t have a great shooting percentage tonight, but we were able to win the game because of defense.”

The Bulldogs were only 15 of 50 from the field, 2 of 17 from 3-point range. MVP Cooley made both 3-pointers, but she tried 13 of them. Springville, meanwhile, could only get off 34 shots in the game.

“They’re not as big a 3-point threat so if you play position defense and keep them in front of you they’ll make a lot of passes,” Bullock said. “What you want to of is try to get ahead and hope they will pass the ball and the clock is in your favor. It was a little bit of them playing slow, but we had a lot to do with it defensively not letting them get off clean looks.”

The Bulldogs walked out to accept their regional championship trophy locked arm-in-arm, a spontaneous move to demonstrate their closeness as a team.

“I know you hear that lot, but we really try to stress the fact about the team,” Bullock said. “A guy I just got through hugging out there (J.O. Johnson coach) Jack Doss — seven state championships and he was my coach at Anniston High School when I was a freshman — all he does is stress team. He just got through giving them a speech about team.

“I don’t know any other way to do it. I respect and understand the superstar aspect, but if you take all those guys away from you, you really don’t have anything. Ability levels are going to be different … but we’ve got to have each player. Even if you’re on the bench cheering, I need you cheering for 32 minutes.”

This story will be updated.

Anniston 50, Springville 39

SPRINGVILLE (17-11) – London Coleman 3-6 0-0 7, Jaylyn Felder 2-10 6-9 10, Chelsea Eldridge 2-4 0-1 4, Kylee Kimbrough 1-4 6-9 8, Chyna Winston 4-5 0-0 8, Riley Barrett 0-0 0-0 0, Becca Buckner 0-1 0-0 0, Olivia Medlin 0-1 0-0 0, Piper Long 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Roberts 0-1 0-0 0, Sabrina Boyd 1-2 0- 2. Totals 13-34 12-19 39.

ANNISTON (27-8) – Miajah Bullock 1-10 1-2 3, Raven Cooley 4-17 5-6 15, Davia Palmer 2-7 3-5 7, Carsheuna Curry 5-6 2-2 12, Ki-Yana Bullock 2-9 7-10 11, Carlina Welch 0-0 0-0 0, Takia Shears 1-1 0-0 2, J’kyra Clemons 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-50 18-25 44.

Springville 4 9 8 18 — 39
Anniston 14 6 15 15 — 50

3-point goals: Springville 1-6 (Coleman 1-2, Felder 0-1, Eldridge 0-1, Buckner 0-1, Medlin 0-1); Anniston 2-17 (M. Bullock 0-2, Cooley 2-13, Palmer 0-2). Rebounds: Springville 23 (Eldridge 5, Kimbrough 5); Anniston 44 (Curry 9, Cooley 7, K. Bullock 7). Total fouls: Springville 22, Anniston 22. Fouled out: Kimbrough. Officials: Jackson, Harrell, Sharp.

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